Comer Higos a la Francesa:, To Eat Figs in the French manner

Rupert de Nola, Libre del Coch; Lady Brighid ni Chiarain, trans.

After a year and a half of stuff you probably don’t want to hear about, I am back. We are mostly unpacked, and have found a lot of the things needed for cooking.

My books are finding their ways back to the shelves, and I am making spice blends and big batches of stock and fat broth again.

We have fresh stores of almonds and cubebs, the garden is alive with dill, rue, and lovage.  The apple trees were taken in the storm, the pear will be harvested one last time before that tree too must make way. It has not been stable without the apples to support it.

Last November, I was honored to prepare the food for a performance of The Lay of El Cid hosted by Barony Bhakail. It was a delightful day, with songs and laughter, heartfelt performances, and the most marvelous kitchen staff. It was a magical day. If you were there, thank you.

We served a variety of dishes, from a relatively broad selection of books. The event setting was intended as being the Court of Alphonse X, which gave me quite a bit of excitement in selecting a balanced menu. I used a number of influences, and had a tremendous amount of help in the year leading up to it.

These recipes have been printed in a small booklet which was present at the event. I do not anticipate editing them further, nor adding photographs until I cook them as part of our regular menu.

If you have used the booklet, I welcome your comments as each respective recipe is posted, unless you prefer to email me.

This dish, a fig compote, is a pleasant condiment for a pork or ham dish, an accompaniment to cheese, a salad adornment, even a dip for apples. It is easily made from dried figs, and can be pressure canned for picnics. I love the stability and versatility of this dish. It can be prepared, put into a feast basket to supplement a meal, and be forgotten until needed, or wrapped prettily as a guest gift.

The Recipe

 Take dried figs, the sweetest that you can get, black and white, and remove the

stems and wash them with good white wine which is sweet; and when they are

very well-cleaned, take an earthenware casserole which is big enough, which

has a flat bottom, and cast them inside, stirring them a little; and then put this

casserole upon the coals, and well-covered in a manner that it is stewed there.

And when they are stewed, and they will have absorbed all of the moisture of

the wine, stir them a little, and cast fine spice on top of them; and turn them,

stirring in a manner that incorporates that spice in them; and then eat this

food; and it is an elegant thing; and it should be eaten at the beginning of the

meal.

My adaptation

8 oz dried figs

8 oz water or dessert wine (sauternes)

4 oz ordinary white sugar

1/4 tsp canela cinnamon ( or simmer with a cinnamon stick )

1 pinch of salt

Soak figs in water for one day

Reserve water.

Place figs in the pot on stove in the same water, boil.

Add sugar, simmer until dissolved and figs are fork-tender.

Add a little more water if not covered.

Taste, refrigerate overnight.

Remove stems from figs,

Place figs in processor, beat up well.

Add a bit more of the cooking water if too stiff.

Add cinnamon if you opted not to simmer with a stick.

Place in jars, refrigerate.

Makes a pint.

Note: Lemon peel, nutmeg, or black pepper would be pleasant in this dish.

 

 

Gear: Measuring spoons

Saucepan

Spatulas

food processor (really vital, it would be a bear without the help of good staff)

pint canning jar and sealing lid

 

 

Libro de Guisados. Carroll-Mann, Robin. N.p.. Web. 14 Oct 2013.

<http://www.florilegium.org/?http://www.florilegium.org/files/FOODMANUSCRIPTS/

Guisados1-art.html>